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Notes: Lions earn division’s top grade for 2023 rookie class

NFL.com’s Eric Edholm is one of many writers handing out near-perfect grades to the Lions 2023 draft class.

NFC Championship - Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Watching all the guys racking up yards on the Detroit Lions’ offense like it’s nothing, you wouldn’t believe a good chunk of them are rookies.

With a number of stars showing out on the defense as well, the Lions earned an A- from NFL.com’s Eric Edholm, who took a back at the rookie class of 2023 in the NFC North.

For those needing a refresher, Detroit drafted Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell in Round 1, Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch in Round 2, Hendon Hooker and Brodric Martin in Round 3, Colby Sorsdal in Round 5, and Antoine Green in Round 7. Nearly all were solid contributors in their first year.

Unsurprisingly, Edholm had nothing but good things to say about how Gibbs and fellow running back David Montgomery greated a powerhouse one-two punch on the ground, and also highlighted are LaPorta’s immediate contributions. The writer complimented Jack Campbell’s high-energy style and consistent progress, but says Branch stole the show on that side of the ball.

“Branch was the real rookie star on defense, setting the tone for the year with a 50-yard pick-six of Patrick Mahomes on the season’s opening night. Although Branch missed a few games, he settled in as the team’s nickel defender, overcoming a lack of elite traits with tremendous hustle and football IQ. Branch has a knack for the ball and also can deliver the wood as a hitter,” he writes.

Comparatively, Edholm gave the Packers a B+, the Bears a B and the Vikings a C. Edholm is currently making his way through each division, and it’s worth noting that every team in the NFC East received a B- or lower.

You can read the full NFC North article here.

And onto the rest of your notes.

  • If you haven’t seen it yet, veteran linebacker Alex Anzalone picks up the pen once more for a tribute to this season.

  • Time for position breakdowns with Detroitlions.com’s Tim Twentyman. First up — wide receivers.

  • A to Z Sports’ Mike Payton may have caught something in Brad Holmes’ electric press conference. Maybe.

  • The NFL’s latest announcement rules out the Lions from making the trip to Sao Paulo.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.